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Poster: Fact_Checker Date: Sep 1, 2009 4:17pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: The Man Who Laughs

I assume you're talking about the 1927/1928 movie. Kino licensed it for DVD some years ago. Universal made it, copyrighted it, renewed it. I remember reading that although the film premiered in 1927, the copyright wasn't registered until about into 1928, about 14 months later, with publication declared to have occurred the later year. Renewal was made on the basis of the later publication date. Although there was an argument made that the film lost copyright owing to the renewal not having occurred in the 28th year as determined by the year of the premiere, such an argument is based on a faulty premise: that the premiere was a publication instead of a performance.

If you read through some of the recent posts by me and by Video-Cellar, you'll come across various explanations, all of which are based on U.S. legal precedents that say (for works made prior to the 1976 Copyright Act) that merely performing or exhibiting a work is NOT the same thing as publishing it and that the clock does not tick away on copyright duration until there has been publication.

Reportedly, on "The Man Who Laughs," there were limited (or "road show") engagements of the film in 1927, always under the control of the maker, and it was not until 1928 that Universal distributed the film through exchanges. What this means for the copyright is that a renewal made in a timely basis based on when the film was first distributed nationwide in quantity through exchanges, is a valid renewal, and it looks like that was the case.

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Poster: bizzarobrian Date: Sep 1, 2009 6:59pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: The Man Who Laughs

Thanks for your help.Very much appreciated but bad news for me. lol